Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller, shooting for a fifth straight premiership win this season, dominates the Expressway Stakes 2015 field for this weekend with five final acceptors for the Rosehill Gardens feature.
The opening Group race of the new season, this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) features a final field of 11 hopefuls set to face off in race six at 4:15pm (local time) on Saturday.
As mentioned, half of those are prepared by Waller with all of the stablemates having their first-up runs in the race.
Leading the field and wearing the number one saddlecloth is triple Group 1 winner Boban, the Bernardini five-year-old racing for the first time since a ninth in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
That was a luckless run in a race he won the year before and in the Expressway Stakes he’ll be looking for his first win since his third elite level success sin the Chipping Norton Stakes over the mile in March last year.
Boban resumed in the same race last year and ran fifth behind Appearance, Waller hoping for a better effort this time round following the horse’s strong one and a quarter-length trial win at Rosehill over 900m on January 20.
Drawn on the inside of Boban (barrier three) are then Beaten Up (2) and Hawkspur (1) to be ridden by Jason Collett and Tye Angland respectively.
Doomben Cup winning Beat Hollow gelding Beaten Up had his latest run at Randwick in early September when second to stablemate Hawkspur in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
He comes into the Expressway on the back of two Rosehill trails including a third over 1030m last week that was a fine effort of Saturday’s showdown.
Former Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur meanwhile hasn’t won since the Chelmsford, the now five-year-old Purrealist gelding having had four subsequent runs over the spring.
His best was a fourth to Waller’s dual Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 20.
His worst though was last start at Flemington on Derby Day, November 1, when beaten nearly nine lengths by Happy Trails to run 11th in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Waller’s two other Expressway Stakes acceptors are then Weary in barrier four for Tommy Berry and Dwayne Dunn’s mount Bagman in gate nine.
French import Weary ran third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in the mud last April and was also second behind the Japanese-trained mare Hana’s Goal in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) to see out his autumn prep.
During the spring he had three unplaced Sydney runs at Randwick including running dead last when noticeably weakening to cross 10 lengths away 12th to Lucia Valentina in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 6.
He trialled well at Rosehill on January 20 finishing a close second over 900m behind Mineko, and Waller hopes to see more from him this time in.
Bagman then looks one of Waller’s best chances of Expressway success, the veteran Easy Rocking eight-year-old last seen running fifth to Opinion in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) on October 4.
That followed a strong campaign that included a 2000m win at Caulfield in mid-August and two thirds at Group 2 level at Randwick behind fellow Waller horses.
Outside of Waller’s five-strong team, the Expressway Stakes field also features a host of top fancies that have already had a run this campaign.
Out wide in barrier 10, the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained That’s A Good Idea comes off back-to-back seconds firstly in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) and then to Ninth Legion last weekend in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Another Takeover Target Stakes graduate from Gosford on January 9 is the Jarrod Austin-trained Lonhro seven-year-old Territory who ran third, only a half-length off the winner, and shoots for a third win over Saturday’s track and distance from six attempts.
Thermal Current also ran third in his lead-up run over 1000m at Randwick for Peter Moody, while the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fastnet Rock mare Driefontein caught the eye crossing three-quarters of a length away fourth to Spurtonic in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 10.
Rounding out the Expressway Stakes field are then the Steve Englebrecht-trained Malavio and the lightly-raced Group 3 winning Redoute’s Choice colt Panzer Division.
See below for the full Expressway Stakes 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2015 Expressway Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Rosehill Race 6 (4:15pm) – 31/01/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||4170x4559x||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||3||58.5kg||113|
|2||3x9021x42x||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||2||58.5kg||110|
|3||0x7514080x||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||1||58.5kg||108|
|4||32132x560x||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||4||58.5kg||106|
|5||024311335x||BAGMAN||Chris Waller||Dwayne Dunn||9||58.5kg||104|
|6||640x53480x||MALAVIO||Steve Englebrecht||Christian Reith||6||58.5kg||101|
|7||394×127822||THAT’S A GOOD IDEA||Peter & Paul Snowden||Joshua Parr||10||58.5kg||99|
|8||x5734177x3||TERRITORY||Jarrod Austin||Sam Clipperton||7||58.5kg||97|
|9||x378x58353||THERMAL CURRENT||Peter G Moody||Kerrin McEvoy||8||58.5kg||89|
|10||0720×62064||DRIEFONTEIN||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||5||56.5kg||107|
|11||12155x||PANZER DIVISION||Paul Messara||James McDonald||11||55kg||88|